List Time Part 1

by Ruby
(Cary NC)

I am pretty sure my husband and I both have SPD. We are over thirty and have been happily married eight years. I am not going to so much tell a story as make a sort of list here, if that's alright.


I twist and play with my hair, as does my brother and mother. My husband won't brush his or trim his beard, I have to do it while he protests or it doesn't happen. I can't stand to wear clothes that don't match in color. He doesn't try to match colors and wears rumpled, wrinkled clothes with probably toothpaste on them or ketchup by the end of the day. I can't swim, couldn't learn to blow bubbles in gum, and was over 20 before I could snap my fingers.

I can't whistle or sing at all. I used to hear noises coming from the wrong direction. I'm not dyslexic with symbols but mix up my right and left side or hands a lot. He can't coordinate his hands to do the same thing at the same time at all, which I can do. He was a real daredevil of a kid, jumping off the roof and setting fires, which his detached hippie parents allowed.

I was very slow to ride a bike and slow to drive a car. It took a lot of people to hold me down at the doctor's or dentist's as a kid (right up to 12) and I still have a phobia of doctors and cry uncontrollably the whole time. My husband has an anxiety disorder of some type that makes it difficult for him to drive long distances and any time things are hard, he has night terrors and other panic symptoms. He picks his finger and especially toe nails down to blood, which is often visible as he wears flip flops six months out of the year. He would rather not ever wear shoes.

I had problems getting to the toilet in time all my life due to not feeling the cues until almost too late. I still sometimes have to dash for it. We both drink some kind of beverage constantly. Juice, green tea, coffee, water, soda, energy drinks, whatever, I just have to have a drink by me all the time. I have always wanted hugs and cuddling more than is usual. I'm touchy-feely by nature. I used to work with a man who was ADHD and we used to cuddle every day in a totally nonsexual way, just to feel calmer and more able to focus. I mostly deal with this now by having LOTS of pets to squeeze and cuddle all the time.

I had a million stuffed animals as a kid. It is not a problem now unless I drink alcohol, which I basically never do, but the few times I've been drunk I just wanted to rub on everyone like a cat. We are both messy and disorganized, but I know where everything is and can do math, which he can't and doesn't. He has found a rewarding career as a web designer (artists are supposed to be odd and not follow a dress code) and I stay home and slowly clean up.

I used to work in management but wasn't very good at it - I was too honest and nice and tactless at the same time, plus bad at time management. I get motion sick very easily, get headaches from bright light, hate heat and sweat and brightness (I call it reverse seasonal affective disorder). I hate television and we don't watch it, but we love movies. But I am very hesitant sometimes to watch a movie I haven't seen and that I don't know if I will like it. If I don't like it I will leave the room regardless of what anyone thinks.

I read all the time. I literally read all day long while doing everything else from walking the dog to washing the dishes. I used to dread dishwashing and even showers somewhat because of the shock of the temperature changes and wet/dry sensations, but that is mostly gone. I hate to vacuum because of the noise but my husband will do it. He fidgets, wiggles and jiggles, and smokes cigarettes (not indoors). I constantly crave salty food, saltier the better. I have had to limit how much soy sauce and stuff I eat or my feet will get swollen from the sodium. I have some food issues - basically I have an problem with cheese and can't leave it alone. It acts on me like a drug.

He hates parties, crowds, mingling, any kind of group activity with a passion. Given a chance he will often go to sleep (not out of tiredness but to escape) on a couch somewhere out of the group's way. At a party of people who are his friends and like him, he will go but may have to puke from "anxious tummy" afterward.

We both used to smoke marijuana - both quit six years ago - but I have to say it helped me a lot as a young girl to "come into" my body and really feel a lot of sensation I'd never felt. After smoking it for months I felt much less like I was living "only above the neck" and that has stayed with me. I miss it for workouts. As far as "hot" food - I can't stand a lot of peppery hotness, no jalapeno anything for me, while my husband doesn't mind that but hates for the temperature of anything to be hot at all, which I don't mind.

I get lost in the woods without a broad path, and still have some trouble visualizing maps for driving, but nothing like my husband, who literally does not know how to get anywhere in our own neighborhood. GPS was invented for him! Even with a map he will drive hours in the wrong direction and not know it. My husband was at one time thought to have SPD as a kid but only relating to his inability to remember more than a bit of any long speech someone else made. He might remember the first and last thing on a spoken list, but more likely he can't remember the conversation. This has improved some as he has learned to deal better with his anxiety.

He has a lot of short term memory issues. I insist he put away groceries with me, I announce each item as one of us puts it away, and he still has no idea what's in the house. I talk way too loud and with too much expression, while he talks very low and often in a mumble or monotone. I had a really hard time going to sleep until I was grown, but not since. This was partly because of my night owl tendencies and partly because I slept for years as a little kid on a pillow I was allergic to (stuffed with real chicken feathers by my country grandma). We are both really hard to wake - no noise will wake him except the alarm. I slept through the house I was in being cut in half by a tree once, but will wake up if our pets sound distressed.

I am really rough on my possessions, and break delicate jewelry and hose on contact, especially chains. I hate to have my neck constricted, or for my feet to feel dry. The one-piece pajamas I wore as a kid did both, plus sticking a zipper in my throat. I break things a lot. As a kid I broke all my crayons coloring as hard as I could. I still hold my pencil wrong. Continued on next one.

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Mar 18, 2009
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Getting a new understanding
by: JERRY A

I first started reading about SPD for my son. Then I read the adult list and saw myself. Now reading your articles I see my wife. At 1 point we got up to having 7 indoor cats. I finally was able to talk her into getting rid of 2 of them so we still have 5.

I thought having a lot of stuff animals was a typical girl thing. I always have something liquid next to me to drink all day long. When ever we are sitting watching tv or talking for a while, she will start twisting her hair.

I have Bi-polar disorder. You mentioned some of your husbands anxiety problems. I was on a med called ambilify. It caused me to have restless leg syndrome and a lot of pain in my legs. I took myself off of it and the anxiety and leg problems left. I am on 11 different meds for various reasons and have come to learn that some meds cause you to have to use more meds to combat their side effects.

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